Series preview – Powell River vs. Victoria

#2 Powell River Kings vs. #1 Victoria Grizzlies
Game one: Friday, March 16 – 7 p.m. at The Q Centre in Victoria

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Season Series

The two teams faced each other eight times this year and Victoria won the season series with five wins, one of which came in overtime, and three losses.

Last Time They Played

The teams haven’t met since Jan. 14 when Victoria peppered Powell River goaltender Mitch Adamyk with 49 shots and got a hat trick from Justin Michaelian en route to a convincing 6-2 win. Ethan Nother, Shawn O’Malley, Alex Newhook, Jamie Rome, Carter Berger and Lukas Clark chipped in with two points each and Kurtis Chapman stopped 36 of 38 shots in the win. Carter Turnbull and Mitchell Williams scored for the Kings in a losing effort.

First-Round Performers

Victoria Grizzlies

G Kurtis Chapman (4-1/1.52 GAA/.956 SV%)
Chapman watched from the bench as his team went down 0-2 in their first-round series with the Alberni Valley Bulldogs, but got the start in game three and made 35 saves in his team’s 3-2 overtime loss. Chapman then went on a run of four straight wins to lead the Grizzlies to a come-from-behind series win in seven games. The 20-year-old from Airdrie, Alta. posted the second-highest save percentage and the third-best goals-against average in the playoffs.

F Justin Michaelian (2-7-9)
The Grizzlies leading scorer in the playoffs produced points in five of his team’s seven first-round games and is tied for second in assists in the BCHL playoffs with seven. Michaelian had two assists including one on the eventual game-winning goal in Victoria’s 5-1 win in game five of the first round.

D Drayson Pears (2-5-7)
The 20-year-old defenceman only played in 33 regular-season games in his third BCHL season, but has produced at a high level in the playoffs, including a two-assist effort in game five and a goal in game six against Alberni Valley. Pears is tied with teammate Dayne Finnson for second in points by defencemen in the playoffs with seven in seven games.

Powell River Kings

F Carter Turnbull (4-6-10)
Turnbull is tied for the playoff scoring lead with ten points in six games, including three game-winning goals and a pair in his team’s 6-4 series-winning victory in game six against the Nanaimo Clippers. The Nanaimo native is in his third playoffs with the Kings and had points in five of his team’s six first-round games, including four multi-point efforts.

F Neal Samanski (2-5-9)
Samanski’s nine points has him tied for third and right behind Turnbull in the playoff scoring race. Like Turnbull, he also has points in five of his team’s six playoff games, including a two-goal, one-assist performance in game two against Nanaimo.

G Matteo Paler-Chow (3-1/2.37 GAA/.924 SV%)
The 5-foot-11, 179-pound goalie got his first BCHL playoff start in game three against Nanaimo and made 28 saves in his team’s 3-2 overtime win over the Clippers. Paler-Chow followed his debut up with a 33-save game in a 2-1 overtime loss in game four and 30 stops in his team’s 3-2 win in game five. He ranks in the top-10 in both save percentage and goals-against average in the playoffs.

From the Broadcast Booth

Powell River Kings play-by-play broadcaster Alex Rawnsley on the key players to watch in this series:

“I think it’s hard to go past a guy like Alex Newhook who’s generated so much buzz and so much attention, not only for himself, but for the Grizzlies and the BCHL this season. [He] leads all players in the season series with 11 points, three goals and eight assists, through just seven games…He consistently is around the net. He’s not only a good finisher, but he’s a good setup man as well. He’s a real lynchpin to Victoria’s offence.

“For the Powell River Kings, you look no further than a guy like Carter Turnbull…He’s been pivotal in, not only scoring, but drawing power plays as well…I would wager heavily that it was more than five power plays that Carter drew [in the first round] as a result of his skating and his change of speed, forcing d-men to hook and hold and slash to try to slow him down.”

Rawnsley on the rivalry between Victoria and Powell River:

“I think it’s two teams that, over the last half-dozen years or so, have been consistently at the top of the Island Division…You look at the history between these two teams…It’s never been a short [series]. It’s never been a walk-over. It’s two teams that are going about their business the same way. They both go for solid goaltending, they both go for defence first, but have that ability to transition quickly into a high-octane offence and we’ve seen that from both Powell River and Victoria this year.”

Victoria Grizzlies play-by-play broadcaster Scott Didmon on the strengths of Powell River:

“The Kings are one of the most consistent teams on home ice. It’s monumental [to] win over there, due to travel and their amazing power-play potential. They can own you for 10 minutes with their confidence in their building and fan support. I feel they really get the out-of-town teams on their heels early and it’s tough to wind it down.”

Didmon on the rivalry between the two teams:

“As far as a rivalry, it’s crazy…I recall the games [this year] being, for the most part, super-intense and full of animosity. It’s a grind and it’s grueling for both sides. If you win, you still limp to the bus with an ice pack.”